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Data gaps make it difficult to track racial equity funding

Greater than a yr after the police killing of George Floyd and the avalanche of donations towards racial fairness initiatives that adopted, the precise present quantities and their locations stay largely unknown, complicating efforts to gauge the effectiveness of the donations and their recipients.

Based on a joint report launched Thursday by PolicyLink, a analysis agency that focuses on advancing racial and financial fairness, and The Bridgespan Group, a New York-based consulting agency that has suggested billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott on her large contributions, greater than 90% of donors who supported racial fairness initiatives in 2018 have but to report how a lot they gave in 2020.

The research additional highlights the constraints specialists have skilled monitoring charitable {dollars} for racial fairness causes amidst America’s racial reckoning. To date, solely $1.5 billion of the practically $12 billion that was pledged may be tracked to precise charitable recipients, in response to the philanthropy analysis group Candid.

A comparability of Candid’s preliminary 2020 information to 2018, the latest yr for which there’s complete figures, led researchers to the findings launched Thursday. There has at all times been a lag in reporting philanthropic information because it’s tied to tax filings. Due to the constraints, the report is asking for institutional funders to proactively share details about their grants to Candid.

“One of many bigger takeaways is round what’s not doable to say at this level in regards to the information for 2020,” mentioned Laura Lanzerotti, a companion at The Bridgespan Group.

One other complication with monitoring the donations has been defining what ‘racial fairness funding’ actually means. There isn’t a sector-wide consensus within the donor world about what contributions fall underneath that time period.

Michael McAfee, the president and CEO of PolicyLink, says a consensus is required to differentiate “between actually good acts of charity,” and “the liberatory work that’s essential to create” a simply and truthful society.

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Although, Una Osili, the affiliate dean for analysis and worldwide applications on the Household Faculty of Philanthropy at Indiana College, says which may additionally current extra challenges.

“There could also be a necessity for extra systematic definition as a result of this work is boundary spanning,” she mentioned. However, Osili added, advocacy efforts geared toward influencing public coverage – and different issues advisable within the report – might not fall underneath conventional actions for tax-exempt nonprofits.

“That additionally presents one other complication, as a result of typically talking, these are tracked individually by the IRS as 501(c)(4)s” – social welfare teams that do not get tax exemptions.

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The Related Press receives help from the Lilly Endowment for protection of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely liable for all content material. For all of AP’s philanthropy protection, go to https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

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